SWITZERLAND – The Swiss government has tendered a study on the impact of the country's steep conversion rate on the "unintended" transfer of active members' assets to payouts.

The government seems to have made the conversion rate its priority since unveiling details on the Altersvorsorge 2020, its major pension reform plan.

The government has now called for two studies on the conversion rate in the space of a few days, tendering one study on feasible long-term return expectations earlier this week.

In the most recent tender, researchers are to look into the unintended transfer of assets from active members to pensioners.

Critics have frequently spoken against the introduction of what they deem pay-as-you-go (PAYG) elements into the second pillar "through the backdoor".

In its note on the tender, Switzerland's Social Ministry, BSV, pointed out that current benefit promises were "too high given the level of accrued assets".

In a first step, the government wants to assess whether a more in-depth study into such "redistribution effects" is feasible.

The government will also use the study to help identify possible ways for assets to be "redirected", and assess the risks of such transfers – both in Pensionskassen that are only managing mandatory assets, and those 'umhüllende' pension funds, where employers pay contributions beyond mandatory levels.

So far, the latter have largely been able to avoid the transfer of active members' assets by lowering the conversion rate for the aforesaid mandatory assets. 

Offers on the government's latest tender can be filed until 26 August, with the study taking place between September and October this year.